Are you a victim of Google’s latest algorithm change?

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Google made a serious update to its algorithm on May 4th – and it may have undone many hours of vigilant search engine optimisation on your website.

The fallout has been pretty big. According to SEMrush it scored close to maximum 10 on its volatility scale.

This essentially means your website search results may have changed. Now, Google it tweaking all the time, but this change affected many sectors – some more than others.

Travel, property, health, pets and society changed the most – which are very consumer focused results. But law, finance, telecoms and business were also impacted. Neil Patel, something of a web guru, suggests that even major sites including Spotify and LinkedIn saw their rankings hit.

Trends in affected results

Websites with up to date content saw traffic growth

One thing that Neil Patel observed is that more of the websites that updated their content – even old blogs – to make it up-to-the-minute and relevant, saw traffic growth of up to 10%. The pandemic is a great example of a paradigm that affects how most people live and work. That means even basic content on your site may be less relevant than it once was, from pages asking people to visit your offices to requesting offsite meetings.

Websites with thin content saw traffic decline

Thin content is a page with very little content on it. Websites with thin content were more likely to see a decline in traffic of up to 10% following Google’s algorithm change. We’ve always been advocates of good, well written content, and giving readers enough information to make decisions. In marketing you can’t leave a potential customer wanting more information, because they’ll find it somewhere else. It appears Google thinks the same.

So what does this means for your website SEO?

Well, it seems to us that Google is thinking more like a person. So your content is crucial in how you rank. And that means other search engines will almost certainly be – or will start to be – thinking in the same way too.

If a page is out of date then consider replacing it with new, relevant content, or removing it completely and redirecting it to newer content.

If you really can’t increase the amount of text on a page, you may be able to enhance it with images or videos that help people. Remember – YouTube is owned by Google and embedding a YouTube link on your website is a good thing. Similarly images have alt tags and caption opportunities, which can help with keywords and content relevance.

Avoid duplicate content, and use a virtuous circle of linking. If you state something relevant on one page, refer to it – don’t just repeat it. A key indicator of this is the title and meta description. If you find they’re duplicated regularly, then either content is too similar or just repeated unnecessarily. Patel believes sites with duplicate tags were penalised by Google, and saw a traffic dip of up to 10%.

Much of what you need to do is common sense, although when you have lots of content it could be a minefield. You may need a second pair of eyes. We’d be happy to help.

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10 tips for marketing your SME during COVID-19

Chatbots, podcasts and more – the digital content trends to watch out for in 2020